ASU Parking Improves At A Price

April 26, 2004 -- Posted at 4:42 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- The spring semester is winding down for students at Arkansas State University. But when they return in the fall, an old problem on campus will still be there. It's one of the hardest things to do in college sometimes...find a parking spot.

Parking spaces have always been scarce at Arkansas State University but the school has worked to improve the situation...for a price.
"It's costing us more to park than we already pay at the beginning of the semester, we just don't agree with that," said Senior Stephanie Crite.

In 2002, the university built a three story parking garage at a cost of 5.5 million dollars. To pay for the project, students are charged to park there.

Tammy Fowler, assistant to Vice Chancellor, said, "The garage is on target for what we have budgeted for the years we've been involved in it. February of this year is the second full year that it has been in operation."
Students say even with the more than 8,000 parking spots on campus, finding some a spot isn't always easy, and many say they just don't want to pay anymore than they already have.
"For one it should be free. I don't think they should be building paying parking areas. We already pay for parking tickets, it's like $40 a semester for parking," said Crite.
"I'm going to park somewhere where I don't have to pay, because I'm just not going to pay a dollar a day. I'm not. I'll ride around for five, ten minutes. I might be late for class, but hey, I won't do it, it's just not right," said Senior Shakira Martin.
But some say it's not the cost, it's the location.
Senior Elly Armah said, "It's inconvenient to the students on the other end of campus. It's convenient to us because we're at the nursing program, nursing department, so it's right across the street from us.
So that's why I feel that if it was on the other side, more students would use it."
But school officials see it differently...
"It's a great addition to the campus, I think it's really going to be well synched for us when we do start our special events, and get our renovated done. We have all the student services from all over the campus where students have had to go three and four places to get things done. They'll have one stop. A place to park and a place to go in, get their business done and get out quickly," said Fowler.

And when it comes to school, getting in and out as fast as you can is usually the best plan. The parking garage makes up 613 spaces for ASU's 8,350 total parking spots.